Minecraft 1.9 Update Begins

Sitting at my desk re-reading past upgrade notes accompanied by flashbacks to the fun, frustrations, and sometimes both that they caused has had me in a reflecting mood more than once this week. There is a certain thrill that comes with deploying an update. Everyone is excited and eager to experience all new things with their friends. Countless hours will be spent exploring – and most likely exploiting – new features and abilities. This update certainly promises to deliver on both. It will be interesting to see what new builds and contraptions arise.

Major updates are rarely a joy. As long as you have plugins written by a disparate set of people there will always be room for issues whether it is compatibility, broken features, update lag, or the shear panic of finding suitable replacements for plugins that have gone to seed. Many will look upon these as problems, while some of us think them challenges. Granted, one thing we could all do without is the mad rush when the last snapshot is cast into a full-fledged update.

The good news is that some developers have had ample time to prepare. With 56 development snapshots and 545 days, 1.9 clocks in as the longest update period; more than twice that of 1.8. md5 and his team have already put hundreds of hours since last summer to get SpigotMC ready for this release and judging from SpigotMC’s tweets, they are putting in many more this week. I can imagine that if I had the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” during their efforts it would make what I do seem like a cakewalk. My hats off to all of them for the repeated dedication and devotion to Minecraft. The same goes to plugin developers that have been actively updating and improving their plugins during this time. If you feel as I do, please head over to the SpigotMC website and show your appreciation by making a small (or large) donation; something at least to keep them amply supplied in pizza, soda, and beer.

In Local News

With that all said, let’s talk about what is going to happen at VeteranCraft. I am leery of making predictions, but given the amount of time that SpigotMC, plugin developers, and VeteranCraft have spent in preparation, I would expect that we will be fully migrated in 7-10 days. I’m shooting for a much shorter update time, but as usual, there are always unknown factors that wait to rear their ugly heads. Thus, it is better to be a pessimistic optimist – plan for the worst and hope for the best. It is doubtful that such issues will be anything not seen before. Frankly, I’d prefer having problems jump out of the shadows now so that they can be summarily annihilated, rather than lurking for weeks on end only to pop up when most inconvenient.

Please be advised that our servers may reboot several times without notice during the update period. We will try to give notice when we can. I ask that anyone compelled to bicker about this, whether serious or in jest, just doesn’t do it. Everyone has my full support to politely chide anyone that does. Please let them know that while they may consider it harmless, there are people working diligently on the server that they play on for free who may not take such comments lightly. Let’s try to keep the number of temp- or perma-bans to a minimum this week.

Enough of the people stuff; on to the technical stuff.


First order of business is to perform a full backup of everything, worlds, plugin data, database, etc. Thereafter, we will continue to maintain rolling backups during the update period. Without trying to jinx us, if things go really wrong, we may have to roll back to a previous backup. This means that there is a slight risk of losing progress. It is best to put off any major undertaking until after the upgrade. Backup will require a full shutdown. Expected down time: 45-60 minutes.

System Updates

We have consciously kept system updates to a minimum except for security issues as they require shutting down all servers. We have a lot of things to update – operating systems, database servers, Java, logging, LDAP, etc. Most of this will be trivial, but is necessary to ensure that we are working with a current version of everything. This will required a full hardware reboot. Expected reboot time: 40 minutes.

Configuration Management

Starting with this update, we will be using configuration management tools to maintain Minecraft server configurations and data, which will greatly reduce the number of human errors that can crop up especially when multiple people are involved – imagine yourself late at night, on the 15th cup of coffee and you’ll know what I mean. For that we have to install the necessary tools. No shutdown or reboot is required.

BungeeCord Update

BungeeCord, which is part of SpigotMC, combines multiple individual Minecraft servers into a server collection. It allows members to switch between servers via the /server command without having to log off one server and onto another server. The BungeCord update is compatible with 1.8 and 1.9 clients. However, this does not mean that you can use your 1.9 client to connect to a 1.8 server! The update will require a quick server reboot. Expected reboot time: the usual 45 seconds.

Pauli’s World (or Should It be Biergarten or Kneipe ?)

As Pauli90 has pointed out, it would be a good idea to have a temporary 1.9 world in which members can explore some of the newest features with their friends (hint: The End). This world will be running on SpigotMC 1.9, not vanilla Minecraft, giving us an opportunity to test various plugins as they are blessed. Don’t worry, we will first test plugins on our test server before unleashing them onto you. As to what plugins this may entail, it is still too early to tell, except that the first plugin under test will be Essentials. If that passes muster then we hope to provide some kits for members to at least get some vital resources in their hands (i.e. armor, weapons, etc.).

To avoid unnecessary aggravation from griefers, the world will be white listed. It will allow anyone that has played on VC in the past 90 days (and not gotten banned) to connect. If we missed someone or someone is returning after a long absence, staff can always added them. The URL for the server will be posted once it is ready for prime time. As to when it will be up, that will depend on my availability on Thursday. If it is not up on Thursday, then it will be some time on Friday. If you follow this thread and progress updates, you should be able to get a better feel.

In Summary

I could probably continue on for a few more paragraphs, but the more I type, the less time I’m spending on the upgrade. It’s a balance between keeping members informed and getting things done. The next few days will be very hectic and as long as there are no aggravations, it should be relatively fun and painless. As always, please be mindful of staff and heed their advice. Walk on eggshells around Mudwog if you happen to spot him or he will nuke us all Kiss

Addendum (3/3/16)

The tasks described above are only the first part of the update, which is to prep our systems and servers for the 1.9 update and to get a temporary 1.9 running. Once those tasks are completed, the regular process of plugin validation begins (e.g. last minute patches, configuration changes, testing, etc.). Only when those are completed will Arda be updated.

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